Russia-Ukraine live updates: New deadline for Mariupol surrender nears; West sends fighter jets to Kyiv

Russia declared April 19 that the “next phase” of the war in Ukraine was underway, prompting Western leaders to pledge more military support. (Video: Reuters)

Today at 12: 20 a.m. EDT|Updated today at 8: 33 a.m. EDT

Today at 12: 20 a.m. EDT|Updated today at 8: 33 a.m. EDT

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A top adviser to Ukraine’s president insisted that battered port city Mariupol “is holding on” despite a Russia-imposed deadline for fighters to surrender or face a bitter end. “Fighting is underway in the vicinity of the Azovstal plant,” Oleksiy Arestovych said Wednesday as the 2 p.m. local time (7 a.m. Eastern) deadline passed, referring to the massive steel plant where Ukrainian forces and civilians are holing up. A commander there told The Washington Post a day earlier: “We will not lay down our weapons,” and warned that his troops “may be facing our last days, if not hours.”

Moscow has sought to capture the strategically important city for weeks. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the situation in Mariupol remains “severe,” and officials said evacuations would be attempted Wednesday through an agreed-upon humanitarian corridor for women, children and the elderly. More than 5 million refugees have now fled Ukraine, according to the United Nations.

Charles Michel, president of the European Council, arrived in Kyiv, the latest European official to visit the country. President Biden is set to announce around $800 million in additional military aid for Ukraine in the coming days, an official familiar with the decision said. Ukraine is also receiving fighter aircraft from multiple nations, according to the Pentagon.

As Russia renews its campaign to take eastern Ukraine, Western strategists said Ukrainians appeared to be launching local “spoiling attacks” in hopes of disrupting the Kremlin’s broader assault. Fighting is underway in Kharkiv and Donetsk, officials said, while the governor of Luhansk warned that the situation there “is getting worse every hour,” as he called on residents to evacuate.

Here’s what to know

  • Washington is hosting a meeting of the Group of 20 finance ministers on Wednesday that could offer a rare opportunity for Ukrainian officials to confront their Russian counterparts directly.
  • Russian forces are gathering around Izyum, a gateway city to the Donbas region, raising concerns it could suffer the same fate as Bucha, where hundreds of civilians were killed in a Russian campaign of violence and torture.
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency said direct communication with the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was restored late Tuesday.
  • The Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel for updates.

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